Saturday, November 30, 2013

New Music Tuesday - November 12, 2013

New Full-Length Releases

Cate Le Bon - Mug Museum

Cate Le Bon is a Welsh singer-songwriter who's become noted for her dark lyrics and voice, which has garnered comparisons to Nico. Mug Museum is her third full-length album. Now, I haven't been previously familiar with Cate's music, but she recorded one of the songs on this album with a favorite artist of mine. "I Think I Knew" features Perfume Genius. I listened to and liked that song, so I knew I needed to check out her work.

Listen/Watch: "Are You with Me Now"

Other New Releases

Andrew Bird - I Want to See Pulaski at Night EP

Folk singer Andrew Bird keeps himself very busy. He seems to be constantly touring, but finds a way to put out many releases. In 2012, he managed to put out two albums and two EPs. This year has been comparatively quiet for him, but, late in the year, we are getting a short release of new material!

Listen: "Pulaski at Night"

The Beatles - On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2

From 1963 to 1965, The Beatles conducted a series of performances for the BBC Light Programme. In 1994, a collection of recordings from those sessions was released, which included songs and dialog. Volume 2 is intended as a rerelease of that 1994 compilation, but also includes previously unreleased material from those programs.

Listen: "You Can't Do That"

David Lynch - "Bad the John Boy"/"The Big Dream" (Venetian Snares Remix)

Director and musician David Lynch released his latest album, The Big Dream, in July of this year. "Bad the John Boy" is a B-side from the album's recording sessions. Included with the single is a remixed version of a song from that album.

Listen: "Bad the John Boy"

Flume - Flume Deluxe Reissue

Flume is a young producer who released a self-titled solo album last year. I wasn't previously familiar with his work, but heard a song featuring Autre Ne Veut and decided to check him out. The deluxe version of his album features some new tracks as well as remixed versions of some of the original songs.

Listen/Watch: "Insane"

Grizzly Bear - Shields Expanded

Grizzly Bear released Shields last year and it became one of my favorites of that year. Well, here is the (now, apparently) requisite deluxe edition. It features some demos from the band, as well as remixes and bonus tracks.

Listen/Watch: "gun-shy"

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Miami Pop Festival

The Jimi Hendrix Experience performed at the Miami Pop Festival way back in May of 1968. A documentary, titled Hear My Train A Comin, was recently released and the release of this live album is in conjunction with that.

Listen/Watch: "Foxey Lady"

Mount Eerie - Pre-Human Ideas

Mount Eerie is the project of musician Phil Elverum. His latest release consists of previously-released songs that have been re-recorded using MIDI instruments and auto-tune.

Listen: "House Shape"

Nat Baldwin - Dome Branches: The MVP Demos

Dirty Projectors have kept Nat Baldwin busy lately (he is the bassist for that band). He has worked as a solo artist as well, though, most recently (before this, of course) releasing People Changes. This release consists of demos from his debut record, Most Valuable Player.

Listen: "Look She Said"

Sampha - "Too Much"/"Happens"

Sampha built his name as a guest vocalist for other artists, most notably, SBTRKT. He has been releasing a series and EPs and singles this year, though. He continues his move towards his own career with this latest single, a reworking of a song that he originally did with rapper Drake.

Listen/Watch: "Happens"

Saint Heron

Solange Knowles (also known as Beyoncé's little sister) recently started her own record label, Saint. She's developed a unique style that often incorporates many elements of indie music. While the songs on this record are mostly pre-recorded, it provides a good look at the music that she loves and that may be featured with her label.

Listen: Solange - "Cash In"

Stornoway - You Don't Know Anything EP

Stornoway is an indie folk band out of England who released an amazing debut album, Beachcomber's Windowsill, in 2010. I loved the band's music, but only found out about the release of their sophomore album a few months after its released. I was more on top of this one, though; I don't want these guys off my radar!

Listen/Watch: "Farewell Appalachia"

The xx - HVNXX EP

The xx have put out two albums and countless singles and EPs since they banded in 2005. Their latest EP consists of remixes of four of their previous songs.

Listen: "Fiction" (Marc Pinol Remix)

Monday, November 25, 2013

New Music Tuesday - November 5, 2013

New Full-Length Releases

Bryce Dessner & Kronos Quartet - Aheym

The Kronos Quartet is a Seattle-based string ensemble which has been around for about forty years. They have put out 43 studio albums in their time together. For their latest record, they've partnered with The National guitarist Bryce Dessner, who composed all of the songs on the record.

Listen/Watch: "Aheym"

Cut Copy - Free Your Mind

For their fourth studio album, Cut Copy sought inspiration from various "Summers of Love;" specifically San Francisco's 1967 and Britain's 1988 (perhaps that explains the somewhat trippy artwork). They really wanted to push the concept of freedom with this latest release. What's important to me, though, is that this is an album that I can love as much as their previous, Zonoscope. Based on the early singles, I don't doubt that I will.

Watch: "Free Your Mind"

M.I.A. - Matangi

M.I.A. has never been one to shy away from controversy. For her latest album, named for her own birth name as well as a Hindu goddess, she addresses one directly. At the 2012 Super Bowl half-time show, she threw up a middle finger live on air, which she references in the track "Boom Skit." I don't expect controversy to stop following this artist anytime soon, but it's a large part in what makes her work so compelling.

Listen/Watch: "Bring the Noize"

MellowHigh - MellowHigh

The Odd Future juggernaut continues to ride along! MellowHigh, which features members Domo Genesis, Hidgy Beats and Left Brain, is one of many subgroups within the Odd Future gang, and itself is an offshoot of another subgroup, MellowHype. This is their debut album. In contrast to the sometimes violent lyrical content of other Odd Future records, this one takes a more, well, mellow approach. Which means, if you can't tell from the album artwork, that smoking is frequently discussed.

Listen/Watch: "Extinguisher"

Other New Releases

Birdsmell - "Throw My Mess Around"/"Tulsa"

I'll try to ignore the absolutely horrible name that Ben Bridwell chose for his solo project and instead focus on what an incredible musician I think that he is. The Band of Horses frontman is stepping out on his own and just completed a short tour as a solo artist. This is his first single and I hope it's indicative of even more great music to come!

Listen: "Throw My Mess Around"

Bright Eyes - A Christmas Album

Bright Eye's Christmas album was initially released eleven years ago and rereleased on vinyl four years ago. Now, just in time for Christmas 2013, it is getting another vinyl rerelease!

Listen: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

Colin Meloy - Colin Meloy Sings The Kinks EP

Colin Meloy, frontman for The Decemberists, is about to embark on a short solo tour starting in January. He's recorded as a solo artist since 2005, mostly releasing covers EP. In the past, he has covered Morrissey, Shirley Jones and Sam Cooke. Iconic rock band The Kinks are next on his radar.

Listen: "Do You Remember Walter?"

David Bowie - The Next Day Extra

David Bowie released his 24th studio album, The Next Day, in March of this year. As seems to be becoming more and more frequent, it's already getting a bonus track-packed rerelease within the same year. Extra features a couple of remixes and several brand new tracks.

Listen/Watch: "The Next Day"

Music from and Inspired By 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave was released on November 8 and is already being heralded as a potential frontrunner in next years Academy Awards. A number of prominent artists have contributed to the film's soundtrack, including Laura Mvula, Alabama Shakes and John Legend.

Listen: John Legend - "Move" (featuring Fink)

No Joy - Pastel and Pass Out EP

No Joy released their latest full-length, Wait to Pleasure, in April of this year. They've wasted no time in releasing a follow-up EP. It's meant to serve as an extension of that last release, to expand and grow upon the sounds introduced there.

Listen: "Last Boss"

Roman Remains - Energy You EP

If there was ever a younger band that I think carried on the torch lit by Blondie in the late 1970s, it is The Duke Spirit. The British band, fronted by Leila Moss, had a similarly diverse sound and an amazing frontwoman. It's been a couple of years since their last album, but in the meantime, Leila, along with bandmate Toby Butler are exploring a new project.

Listen/Watch: "This Stone Is Starting to Bleed"

Sore Eros & Kurt Vile - Jamaica Plain EP

Kurt Vile has been a very busy artist this year. He's released a solo album, an EP and an expanded version of that same solo album. Here, he's putting out a collaborative EP with solo indie musician Sore Eros (Robert Robinson).

Listen: "Jamaica Plain"

Tennis - Small Sound EP

Tennis is a husband-wife duo who have become known for putting out catchy, but very twee music. Something happened when I first listened to this new EP, though, I realized that they are starting to expand beyond that sound. Small Sound is more grown up and confident, a shift that can only make their music even better.

Listen: "Mean Streets"

Yo La Tengo - "Super Kiwi"/"A Day in the Life of a Tree"

"Super Kiwi" is a track from the deluxe edition of Yo La Tengo's Fade (released in January). It's getting released as a stand-alone single with the B-side "A Day in the Life of a Tree."

Listen: "Super Kiwi"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Camera Obscura - "Break It to You Gently"

In their latest music video, Camera Obscura follows a wheeled bag as he escapes from his owner's garage and goes on an adventure. He attempts to interact with other inanimate objects, gets chased by dogs and has a bunch of crazy things done to him by some drunken blokes. All seems to work out in the end, though.

Camera Obscura released their latest album, Desire Lines, back in June.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Music Tuesday - October 29, 2013

New Full-Length Releases

Arcade Fire - Reflektor

Arcade Fire arguably became the biggest indie rock act after their last album, The Suburbs, won Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2011. They'd been critical successes from the beginning, the but album helped to make them commercial hits as well. Though they'd released two full-length records prior, this may be their biggest challenge, as they're following up a highly-successful record. Thankfully, they haven't strayed from the epic sound that has served them well in the past.

Listen/Watch: "Reflektor"

Diane Coffee - My Friend Fish

Diane Coffee is the moniker for Shaun Fleming, drummer for the band Foxygen. It still amazes me how quickly we are seeing solo albums from the members of that band so soon after their own debut album. Still, I always enjoy hearing what individual band members do on their own; it can provide an interesting look at how their sound plays into the band's sound and what they can do on their own.

Listen/Watch: "Green"

Los Campesinos! - No Blues

No Blues is this Welsh band's fifth studio album, which sees them continuing to advance and mature their sound. While I liked the twee sound of their debut album, Hold on Now, Youngster..., I tired of it and they didn't seem to waver much from it even three years later, when they released their fourth album, Hello Sadness. This might be the biggest jump forward for them and I'm interested again!

Listen/Watch: "Avocado, Baby"

Moonface - Julia with Blue Jeans On

Wolf Parade (the former band of Moonface's Spencer Krug) broke up two years ago, which was a travesty for me... they were one of my favorite bands. Dan Boeckner went on to form Divine Fits with Britt Daniel and Moonface is Krug's post-Wolf Parade project. This is his third album with the project following last year's excellent With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery. Each former member of Wolf Parade has made unique music following the dissolution, and it's all been great!

Listen/Watch: "Barbarian"

Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time

Sky Ferreira is a young pop singer who began gaining critical acclaim following the release of her first EPs, As If! and Ghost. It took some time for her first full-length (hint: it's this album) to be released. She struggled a bit with major labels who wanted to turn her into a more typical pop star. Thankfully, Capitol has allowed her to be herself more. Maybe, she can start to change the course of modern pop music.

Listen/Watch: "You're Not the One"

Son Lux - Lanterns

Son Lux's music is an interesting mix of post-rock and hip hop. He upped the ante even more last year by releasing an EP under the name S / S / S with Serengeti and Sufjan Stevens. The three have very different sounds, so the combination was even more interesting. I started checking Son Lux out more following that release, this is his third full-length.

Listen/Watch: "Lost It to Trying"

Upset - She's Gone

Ali Koehler was the drummer for the band Best Coast until 2011, when she left the band under what she claimed was not her own decision. Bethany Consentino (Best Coast's lead singer) claimed her departure was much more amicable. Whatever the reason for that split, she is back with a new project, Upset, with Patty Schemel and Jenn Prince. The sound is similar to her past projects, Vivian Girls and, of course, Best Coast.

Listen/Watch: "You and I"

White Denim - Corsicana Lemonade

I've heard the White Denim name around the past couple of years, but only decided to check them out when they announced the release of this latest album earlier this year. I checked out the early single "Pretty Green" and was immediately impressed by their sound. It felt, to be, like a more psychedelic version of The Black Keys. Loving this album, now it's time to check out their back catalog!

Listen/Watch: "Pretty Green"

Other New Releases

Baio - Mira EP

Baio is the mononym for Vampire Weekend's bassist, Chris Baio. He's been active as a member of that band since its inception in 2006, but began releasing solo material last year. In sharp contrast to his main band's African-tinged indie rock, his music is electronic.

Listen/Watch: "Mira"

Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticisms Reissue

Transatlanticisms was Death Cab for Cutie's fourth album released in 2003. It became their first charting record at 97 (later releases would reach the top 10). It has been ten years since that breakthrough release and, of course, time for an anniversary release. This includes a remastered version of the original album and a disc of demos.

Listen: "The New Year" (Demo)

Foals - Holy Fire: Live at Royal Albert Hall

Foals released an excellent third album, Holy Fire, earlier this year. On March 28, they performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England. This, along with a DVD, is the official release of that show.

Listen: "Late Night"

Mount Kimbie - CSFLY Remixes EP

Mount Kimbie released their sophomore album, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, earlier this year. This EP features various remixes of two of the songs from that album by producers such as Lee Gamble, Oneman and Kyle Hall.

Listen: "You Took Your Time" (Kyle Hall remix)

Music from and Inspired by Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club is an upcoming film starring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto (and I can't wait to see it). The film's soundtrack features songs from Portugal. The Man, My Morning Jacket, and Tegan and Sara.

Listen: Tegan & Sara - "Shudder to Think"

Phosphorescent - Muchachos de Lujo

Though I wasn't yet into Matthew Houck's music when he released his latest album earlier this year, once I heard it, it quickly became one of my favorites of the year. The record is already getting its deluxe edition, which includes tracks recorded live at the St. Pancras Church.

Listen: "Terror In The Canyons (The Wounded Master) (Live at St. Pancras Church)"

The xx/Sampha - "Reconsider"/"Without"

The indie label Young Turks has been releasing a series of split 7" singles throughout 2013. Each has been available in limited edition quantities.The latest brings together The xx and Sampha.

Listen: The xx - "Reconsider"

Monday, November 11, 2013

Man of Steel

2013 has been a pretty busy year for superhero movies. Man of Steel is the second reboot of the Superman franchise. Henry Cavill stars as a titular hero as we follow Clark Kent's beginnings. He's sent to Earth by his real father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) in order to protect him from the demise of his planet. As he grows up, he discovers his heritage and learns to embrace his powers. He is forced to use them to protect his new home when a Kryptonian general, Zod (Michael Shannon) threatens to destroy it.

First off, I just have to say, Henry Cavill is a beautiful man. However, that doesn't mean that this movie was any good, even with the acting talent of Amy Adams and Michael Shannon. DC seems to be trying to build what Marvel has recently, but it didn't seem like they knew what they wanted this film to be. It tried, at times, to inject the humor you see in the Marvel films, but held itself back, like it wanted to evoke the seriousness of Christopher Nolan's Batman films. The result is a bit messy.

Mini soundtrack:

Chris Cornell - "Seasons"
Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders - "The Long Walk"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Music Tuesday - October 22, 2013

New Full-Length Releases

Poliça - Shulamith

Poliça burst onto the scene early last year with their debut album, Give You the Ghost. Although the band was nearly brand new, they received a lot of attention leading into the album and overwhelmingly positive reviews upon its release. Here comes the hard part for any band, following up a successful first album. Poliça has released a sophomore album that's just as good.

Listen/Watch: "Warrior Lord"

Other New Releases

Active Child - Rapor EP

It's been a little while since we've heard from Active Child (aka Pat Grossi). He released his first and only album, You Are All I See, way back in 2011 following a series of EPs. I guess he's back to the EPs for now following two years of relative silence. Here, he collaborates with Mikky Ekko and Ellie Goulding.

Listen/Watch: "She Cut Me"

Best Coast - Fade Away Mini-Album

Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno (the only two members left of the band) released their last full-length album in May of last year. Normally, a collection of songs that's not quite full-length in length is called an EP, but Best Coast has decided to call this a "mini-album." It is the first release on Cosentino's new label Jewel City.

Listen/Watch: "I Don't Know How"

Simian Mobile Disco - Tong Zi Dan EP

Tong zi dan is an interesting Chinese cultural item. It's a dish consisting of eggs cooked in the urine of prepubescent boys. Sounds delicious; I guess that's the vibe Simian Mobile Disco is trying to set. Honestly, though, I'm not entirely sure what connection virgin boy eggs have to this music, but SMD always puts out great work.

Listen/Watch: "Tong Zi Dan"

Van Morrison - Moondance Reissue

Van Morrison initially released this iconic more than 40 years years ago. The album is generally considered Morrison's best and is one of my favorite albums from the 1970s. The reissue includes three discs of new (unreleased) material and a high-resolution audio recording of the original album.

Listen: "Moondance"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

M83 - "Claudia Lewis"

In the latest video from his 2011 release, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, Anthony Gonzalez enlisted some Hollywood up-and-comers. The video is directed by Bryce Dallas Howard and stars Israel Broussard (of The Bling Ring) and Lily Collins. It tells the story of a strange alien girl who comes to earth and a boy who falls for her.

It's been a little while since a studio album from M83, but he has kept himself busy scoring movies like Oblivion and producing new tracks for The Killers.

Tame Impala in Columbus

When: March 8, 2013
Where: Newport Music Hall (Columbus, OH)

The Show:

I had originally intended to go up to Columbus for a weekend to see Tame Impala and Tegan & Sara. After some plans fell through, and I waited too long to get tickets for the second show, I turned it into a day trip for just this show. I was not disappointed; Tame Impala was an awesome band to catch live.

I (somewhat intentionally) missed the opening act and arrived at Newport just in time to get a position that wasn't so close to the stage that I went deaf, nor so far that I couldn't see. The band's Beatle-esque psychedelic sound translated extremely well to a live show (the crazy visuals also helped). I've seen them once since this incredible show and would gladly watch them live again.

Mini Setlist:

"Solitude Is Bliss"
"Mind Mischief"